Everything you can and cannot do under new fire break lockdown rules in Wales

TRAPPED but make it in a uni house

After it was announced on Monday that from 6pm on Friday 23rd October Wales will enter a ‘firebreak lockdown’, many students may have been left wondering what it is that they can and can’t do during the 17 day lockdown. So, we’re here to help break it down for you.

The rules of this lockdown are very similar to those of the lockdown we faced back in March, but this time it’s just for a couple weeks instead of months. The main rule for us to follow is that we must stay at home – except for limited purposes.

So, what are the limited reasons for leaving your house?

• Essential shopping – e.g. food and medicine (students, prepare yourselves for long queues outside of Lidl).

• Exercise – while gyms are closing for the two weeks, we’re still encouraged to walk/run/cycle locally (either alone or with people in your household).

• Work – going into work is allowed but only if you’re unable to do it from home.

• To provide care or help for a vulnerable person – e.g. getting them food or medicine.

• To attend a wedding or funeral if you are invited.

• To escape risk of illness or injury – e.g. for victims or people in risk of domestic abuse

• To access services provided to victims of domestic abuse – or those at risk of becoming a victim.

And most importantly for students:

• Education – Universities are still open for blended learning, meaning students are still allowed to attend their face-to-face lectures and seminars. This also applies to students who are travelling into Cardiff to attend their in-person lectures.

Ultimately, this all means that people are not allowed to visit other households or meet other people they do not live with. It also means that many businesses will be closing, such as bars, restaurants, and non-essential shops including retail. Cardiff University students will, therefore, be saying goodbye to their favourite pubs such as The Taf, The Woody, and Gassy’s for two weeks.

Students have also been asked by the Welsh Government, and this has been reiterated by Cardiff University, that students do not travel home for this lockdown. Claire Morgan, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said in an email to students, “the purpose of this temporary measure in Wales is to help slow the spread of the virus. In support of both this new circuit breaker and the existing local restrictions in place in Cardiff please do not return home, and in doing so risk both a fine and further spreading the virus.”

Mark Drakeford has stated, to many students’ disappointment, that people gathering to celebrate Halloween or Bonfire Night will be breaching the rules.

He said: “to be completely clear with people, the law, as it will apply in Wales, will not allow for bonfire gatherings or gatherings for Halloween.” While the rules clearly state no gatherings, students will still be able to dress up for Halloween in their houses with their housemates as long they don’t break the rules and mix with others.

What happens if you do break these new rules?

• You may be told to go home or removed from where you are and returned home.

• You could have to pay a fixed penalty notice of £60 – which rises to £120 if breached for a second time.

• There is also the chance of having criminal proceeding brought against you, and being fined if found guilty.

The purpose of this short but strict firebreak, Mark Drakeford hopes, is to regain control of Coronavirus. With this in mind, while there are still reasons that permit you to leave your house, you should consider whether it is truly necessary and to keep anytime spent outside of your house to a minimum.

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